Vitra, powerhouse of iconic, modern furniture, has worked with incredible designers since its inception in 1950. With engineering excellence and partnerships with innovative designers, Vitra has consistently produced furniture that challenges and questions, and so, improves, their functions and contributions to daily life. This direction has brought forth thought-provoking pieces that have changed the way people see and use furniture. Among these are the Vitra accessories and other items; presented below is a list of 7 of the most interesting in their line.
Eames House Bird
Wooden Dolls by Alexander Girard
Algue by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
Corniches by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
L’Oiseau by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
Chairless by Alejandro Aravena
Miniatures by the Vitra Design Museum
Vitra Design Museum houses an extensive collection of furniture design. Featuring the milestones of design across history, the Museum in Weil am Rhein began making miniature versions of these pieces one sixth the size of the originals. True to scale, they replicate even the details of construction, material, and color. Their authenticity goes as far as the natural grain of wood, the placement of screws, and other handicraft techniques involved in making the original versions. From Historicism to Postmodernism and the present time, the collection has grown to include more than 100 pieces of design icons. These Miniatures make for popular collector’s items and as educational material for schools and others in the field of design.
Charles and Ray Eames, the iconic couple and team that helped define modern design and its lasting legacy, had kept a figure of a black wooden bird in the centre of their living room. A prized artefact of American folk art, it held a precious position in the collage-like interior of their home. This Eames House Bird has now found its way into homes and spaces worldwide. This simple, stylized object made from solid alder wood and finished in black lacquer is illustrative of the Eames’s aesthetic. The Eames’s approach to design is similar to collage: where diverse materials, disciplines, ideas, and processes come together to solve problems and form insights.
Another pioneering figure of midcentury modern design is the Eames’s colleague and friend, Alexander Girard. Evident across his wide-range of work and his focus on textile design is a similar source of inspiration: the folk arts of different cultures, from the Americas, to Eastern Europe, and to Asia.
Infinite are man’s expressions of beauty and love; open your eyes your ears and your heart to them and you will unite the peoples of the world.
— Alexander Girard
Inspired by his immense personal collection, he designed and made a set of Wooden Dolls for his own use. Since his death in 1993, these dolls, along with the contents of his studio and the rest of his collection, were bequeathed by his wife Susan to the Vitra Design Museum. Vitra has now remade these Wooden Dolls, a set of 22 different dolls based on those originals.
Aside from the Eameses and Girard, Vitra has worked extensively with Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. The brothers are considered by many to be among the most respected designers of contemporary times. Innovative and skilful, they have produced work that reflect the changing lifestyles and needs of people today, creating sensible, functional pieces that are imbued with a subtle sensuality.
A common theme found across their work is a reference to natural motifs. These are reflected in their furniture designs, but also in the accessories that they have made. The most famous of these is Algue, a flexible interior design component that is simultaneously decorative and functional. Like its name, it is reminiscent of plants, and can be linked together to form a structure. Made from injection-moulded plastic, the Algue can be formed to make a light curtain or a solid divider.
Corniches is another multi-functional piece by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. Spontaneous storage for the small, random things, the Corniches are individual protrusions of varying sizes that can be arranged in any way. “The same way that we hang our belongings on a rock jutting from a cliff before diving into the sea, we need small, informal storage in everyday life too”, explains Ronan Bouroullec. They can be decorative, as ledges for souvenirs, photographs, and the like, or functional, like pegs to hang umbrellas off of. They are available in several different sizes and colors, like white, orange, Japanese red, khaki, dark grey, and black.
Like the Eames House Bird, L’Oiseau by the Bouroullec brothers is inspired by folk art, this time from Northern Europe. The Nordic regard for natural materials and clear shapes is evident in the L’Oiseau. Made from natural maple and sanded smooth, this simple wooden bird brings warmth and character to modern interiors.
It is a simple bird without any other function than trying to propose a caring presence, a pleasant company. We have always been fascinated by animal representations whether they are primitive or more contemporary — from ivory bears made by the Inuit community to the Finnish birds made in blown glass. It could seem outdated to be interested in such subjects however we truly think that it is a necessary fantasy to continue supplementing this symbolic bestiary.
– Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
Alejandro Aravena is a Chilean architect and designer who started his career with social and environmental projects. Similar to the aforementioned spirit of collage, Aravena found inspiration from the Ayoreo Indians of the Gran Chaco border region in South America, between Paraguay and Bolivia. The Ayoreo use textile straps wrapped around them as a tool for sitting on the ground. Chairless by Aravena is built from that idea: made with wear-resistant polyamide, the textile strap is joined into a loop and can be wrapped around the back and knees for support. As an alternative for a chair, it allows the user to have his hands free for other activities while taking pressure off the back muscles.
Give your interiors a lively, rich atmosphere with a collage of Vitra accessories that make for thought-provoking conversation starters. See the display at the Third Floor of MOs Design today.